Saturday, March 17, 2007

Gavaskar v/s Ponting

India lost to Bangladesh today ... that certainly was rock bottom as far as World Cup aspirations go for India. On another note, a storm has been quietly brewing in the days leading up to the World Cup. Gavaskar's outburst against the Aussies and their on-field behavior provoked Ponting's predictable response about the famous Gavaskar walk-off from the field (1981 at the MCG) - certainly the low point of Gavaskar's illustrious career.

But things have gone one step too far - with Gavaskar bringing in the fact that David Hookes died of injuries suffered in a bar, an apparent example of the fact that the Aussies' off-field activities could land them in hot water. I was all with Gavaskar about the sledging and the taunting by the Aussies on-field - but that was just too tangential, off-track and downright personal and dirty. Certainly not a smart thing to say, and no surprise that it has come in from condemnation from Aussie cricketers.

Greg Baum uses these episodes to highlight the East-West divide in his article in the Australian newspaper The Age. Baum correctly argues - "Gavaskar invoked the late Hookes' name needlessly, carelessly and tactlessly. It did not belong in this dialogue." He also points out that such rhetoric can also bring forth extreme reactions from the public like someone calling in a radio program in Australia asking that Gavaskar's name be removed from the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The East-West divide is exemplified by his concluding remark:
Former Australian prime minister and cricket enthusiast Robert Menzies wrote once that Englishmen and Australians were of such like minds that "thankfully, we don't have to be too tactful". Between Indians and Australians, it is not so simple.
The World Cup is well and truly underway - and if the Aussies win again, with India perhaps not even making it to the Super 8 stage, it will be a needless point used in the above argument.

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